Equality Rights in PEI
Join the conversation on social media: #EqualityPEI #AbortionAccessNowPEI
Status Update: In September 2016, The P.E.I. government announced that a Women’s Wellness Centre will be built at the Prince County Hospital in Summerside. The centre will be part of a $5.35 million expansion of Prince County hospital. The following services will be offered at the centre:
- Pre-natal and post-natal care for Islanders without a primary health care provider.
- Post-partum mental health services.
- Sexual health services including education, screening testing and treatment.
- Menopause care for Island women without a primary health care provider or patients with specialized needs.
- Pregnancy termination, including care and counseling.
- First trimester bleeding care.
- Information, navigation and coordination for Islanders seeking fertility treatment off-Island.
Construction is expected to take 18 months. During the construction period, women’s wellness programs at the hospital will be offered (starting January 2017) in temporary space in the hospital.
LEAF and AAN PEI remain committed to holding the government to account with respect to its announced plan. For more information please click HERE.
Prince Edward Island (PEI) is the only province in Canada without local access to safe, legal surgical abortion.
The government of Prince Edward Island has a policy that no surgical abortions will be performed on the Island. As a result, PEI women have had no access to abortion in the province since 1982, and must travel to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick for the procedure.
On January 5, 2016, a group of local activists, Abortion Access Now PEI (AAN PEI), with the support of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), will initiate a legal challenge against the Government of Prince Edward Island in respect of its abortion policy. AAN PEI is required to provide the government with 90 days’ notice of the intended challenge. You can see the notice here and the draft Notice of Application, the final version of which will be filed in 90 days, here.
Through this legal challenge, AAN PEI seeks full and unrestricted access to on-Island, publicly-funded abortion services for PEI women, and argues that the government’s abortion policy is unlawful, discriminatory and offends the Charter rights of PEI women.
PEI’s abortion policy violates the right of PEI women to equal access to health care services under section 15 of the Charter. The policy unlawfully discriminates on the basis of sex and pregnancy because it excludes abortion – a basic health care service required by women – from the health care services offered in PEI. PEI’s abortion policy perpetuates the historic disadvantage and stigma faced by women in relation to their reproductive health and decision-making.
PEI’s Abortion Policy is a state-imposed barrier to the right and ability of individual women to exercise control over matters fundamental to their physical, emotional and psychological integrity. Difficulty, uncertainty, delay, lack of access and stigma cause PEI women physical and psychological harm, including harm to conscience and dignity.
Founded 30 years ago, LEAF is the only women’s organization in Canada committed to confronting all forms of gender discrimination to achieve equality for women and girls under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. LEAF applies the Charter to challenge laws that discriminate against women.
Many of LEAF’s cases have yielded landmark victories in addressing violence against women, eliminating discrimination in the workplace and providing greater access to reproductive rights.
LEAF has intervened in multiple cases regarding reproductive rights over the years:
1987 Baby R.
1989 Borowski v. Canada (Attorney General)
1989 Daigle v. Tremblay
1991 R. v. Sullivan
1996 R v. Lewis
2003 R. v. Demers
Please review the LEAF Timeline HERE.
“Trials and Trails of Accessing Abortion in PEI. Reporting on the Impact of PEI’s Abortion Policies on Women.” Published by Colleen MacQuarrie, PhD, Associate Professor Psychology Department, University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), Jo-Ann MacDonald, PhD, Associate Professor School of Nursing, UPEI, Cathrine Chambers, M.Ed. PhD student, Institute of Women’s Studies, University of Ottawa. January 2014
The Sovereign Uterus, an online space dedicated to publishing personal stories about abortion access and after care in Prince Edward Island, Canada.
In PEI, the right to choose: No longer ‘the shame of being shipped off the island’, the Globe and Mail, April 1, 2016
P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan says abortion lawsuit required timely response, CBC News, April 1, 2016
Abortion services coming to P.E.I., the National, CBC, March 31, 2016
Facing lawsuit, PEI will start offering abortions, Global News, March 31, 2016
Abortion services coming to P.E.I., province announces, CBC News, March 31, 2016
P.E.I. abortion access ‘tremendous victory’ say 2 women who’ve been there, CBC News, March 31, 2016
PEI drops opposition to abortion, plans to provide access by year’s end, the Globe and Mail, March 31, 2016
Interview with Kim Stanton, LEAF Legal Director, PEI to provide abortion services to women on the island, CTV News, March 31, 2016
P.E.I. to establish abortion clinic on the Island, CTV News, March 31, 2016
P.E.I. to provide access to abortions by end of 2016, the Toronto Star, March 31, 2016
Change in P.E.I.’s abortion policy long time coming, the Guardian, March 31, 2016
Canada’s Prince Edward Island ends abortion ban in province, the Guardian, March 31, 2016
P.E.I. announces it will soon provide abortion services, rabble.ca, March 31, 2016
Canada’s smallest province to introduce abortion services, Yahoo News, March 31, 2016
No Woman Is an Island, The Walrus, February 2016
Pro-choice advocates file legal challenge to demand access to abortion in P.E.I., rabble.ca, January 12, 2016
A right for all, Toronto Star, January 8, 2016
Legal déjà vu: Another battle for abortion access, Metro, January 7, 2016
P.E.I. government must concede on abortion issue, The Guardian, January 7, 2016
Advocacy group suing P.E.I government over lack of abortion access, Truro Daily News, January 6, 2016
Advocacy group suing P.E.I government over lack of abortion access, Journal Pioneer, January 6, 2016
National women’s rights group backing P.E.I. abortion case, CBC News, January 6, 2016
Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund supports abortion services lawsuit, CBC News, January 5, 2016
P.E.I. abortion advocates to sue for access on Island, CBC News, January 5, 2016
Abortion rights group plans to take P.E.I. government to court over access, Global News, January 5, 2016
Your stories: Navigating Canada’s abortion provider patchwork, Global News, January 5, 2016
Abortion access in Canada by the numbers, CBC News, January 5, 2016
Advocacy group suing P.E.I government over lack of abortion access, The Guardian, January 5, 2016
Abortion Advocates Are Suing Only Canadian Province That Doesn’t Allow Abortions, Vice News, January 5, 2016
Abortion rights group to sue P.E.I. government over lack of access to procedure, CTV News, January 5, 2016
P.E.I. abortion rights group to sue province for not providing access to procedure, The Toronto Star, January 5, 2016
Abortion Access Now PEI To Take Provincial Government To Court Over Access, The Huffington Post, January 5, 2016
Abortion rights group to sue Island government over lack of access to procedure, Lethbridge Herald, January 5, 2016
Abortion rights group to sue Island government over lack of access to procedure, 680 News, January 5, 2016
Abortion rights group to sue Island government over lack of access to procedure, CityNews, January 5, 2016
Abortion rights group plans to take P.E.I. government to court over lack of access, The National Post, January 5, 2016
Abortion rights group plans to take Island government to court over access, Maclean’s Magazine, January 5, 2016
P.E.I. pro-choice advocates take legal action against government, Chatelaine, January 5, 2016
PEI Abortion Lawsuit, No Fly Lists, Veterinarian Dr. Eric Carnegy, CBC News, January 5, 2016
Avortement : le gouvernement de l’Î.-P.-É. est poursuivi devant les tribunaux, ICI Radio-Canada, January 5, 2016
Avortement: un groupe veut amener l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard devant les tribunaux, L’actualite, January 5, 2016
A mixed year for reproductive rights, The Toronto Star, January 3, 2016
Defending status quo for abortion on P.E.I., The Guardian, December 28, 2015
A need for abortion access, The Guardian, December 28, 2015
P.E.I. women continue to face barriers to abortion despite easing of restrictions, The Toronto Star, December 27, 2015
Abortion group on P.E.I. to lobby for access to services on Island, CBC News, December 22, 2015
Barriers to abortion create stress, financial strain for Island women: advocates, Lethbridge Herald, December 21, 2015
Abortions performed on 49 P.E.I. women in N.B. since direct phone line launched, CBC News, December 15, 2015
Abortions for some: Access still depends on who you are and where you live, Global News, December 9, 2015
Provider patchwork: How abortion access varies across Canada, Global News, December 9, 2015
Where in Canada can you get an abortion? It’s secret – for security reasons, Global News, December 9, 2015
How the ‘abortion pill’ Mifegymiso could change reproductive health, Global News, December 9, 2015
Abortion access in Canada needs to be equalized, says health minister, CBC News, November 17, 2015
Abortion activists keep pressure on P.E.I. government, CBC News, June 17, 2015
P.E.I. woman who used abortion drug unhappy with ER care, CBC News, May 22, 2015
Trudeau and MacLauchlan talk abortion, CBC News, April 17, 2015
Abortion service on P.E.I. would have saved money: report, CBC News, October 20, 2014
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Join the conversation on social media: #EqualityPEI #AbortionAccessNowPEI
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